Glamping on the Farm

Although Farmstays must be in the primary residence or guest house, there are farms that would like to offer an alternative experience like "Glamping." 

What is glamping? It is a combination of glamorous and camping - no ordinary tent camping.  But in this case, you could offer 'ordinary tent' camping, yurts and other non-standard construction buildings, too. Read on...

Not Farm Stays

Glamping on the farm in PA
Even though you may want to include all the elements of a farm stay; these types of arrangements are not farm stays.  A use permit will be required where they are allowed and the total cost of permitting will far exceed that of a farm stay.

Special Occupancy Parks

These types of arrangements are called Special Occupancy Parks (SOP) are are regulated by the state department of Housing & Community Development.  However, the county Permit & Resource Management Department requires a Conditional Use Permit for SOP's, so you will need to work with both the county and the state to get permitted.  


The following agricultural zones allow for Special Occupancy Parks with a Conditional Use Permit:

See the links to the specific zoning codes for more details (search for campground).

*General Plan Policy AR-6e requires agriculture to be the primary use on ag zoned parcels (LIA, LEA, DA), therefore the parcel would need to have an active agricultural operation that is more prominent than the SOP. 

SOP's are not allowed on:

  • LIA - Land Intensive Agriculture 
  • AR - Agriculture Residential
  • Parcels under Williamson Act Contract

Water & Septic

The facility will need water and septic. In addition to the process to obtain a use permit and a permit to operate, the septic system will be the biggest challenge. Visit Permit Sonoma's Well & Septic Systems page.

Additional Information

Visit Housing and Community Development webpages for Mobilehome and Special Occupancy Parks Program for rules and regulations.

Procedure with Housing & Community Development

Can be completed concurrently with the Use Permit, but the California Housing & Community Development department will not issue the Permit to Operate without approval from the county.

  • Apply for a Permit to Operate for one year
  • The fee is per campsite
  • HCD will send an inspector once they receive sign off by the county
  • The permit is to be renewed annually 

Of Additional Interest

  • Hipcamp Landshare - rural accommodations marketing site - If you are legally permitted to offer camping, cabins, or any kind of farm stay or guest ranch on your land, these San Francisco based folks may be good marketing partners.